Last weekend, grassroots activism group Take Back The City (TBTC) occupied short-term letting giant Airbnb’s Dublin office during an open day event.
The open day in the offices was part of the architectural festival Open House Dublin, where a number of the city’s usually private buildings are open to the public for the day.
Pat Neil from the group told Dublin Gazette: “We did some research, and in August there were 3,165 entire properties for rent on Airbnb, compared to 1,329 properties on Daft.ie. There are 66% more properties available to rent in Dublin on Airbnb [than available on Daft].
“This is crazy, given the amount of families that are currently homeless in the Greater Dublin Area.”
In a statement to Dublin Gazette, Airbnb said that 80% of users in Ireland are hosting guests in their own home, and that ‘entire home’ stock on the site represents less than 1% of all properties available on Airbnb.
The occupation forced the company to clear the building of other members of the public, with those who staged the protest refusing to leave under the offices’ ‘open door’ policy for the day.
Neil said: “We chose to do it during Open House Dublin, because we wanted the people coming to the open day to wake up to the likes of Airbnb.
“[Airbnb] are not the sole cause of [the housing crisis]; the Government and the landlords are, but on the ground, we hear from people who could be living somewhere, who then might be evicted, and a few months later will see their former home up on Airbnb.”
Neil says the main point of the protest was to try and stop the profiteering from the current housing crisis, and for people to boycott Airbnb.
A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “Airbnb is an economic lifeline for countless Irish families, and we are proud to have partnered with Open House Dublin for many years to celebrate our creative community.
“We are disappointed that a small and peaceful demonstration disrupted the activities and presentations in our offices.
“We thank local hosts for their hard work in showcasing the best of Irish creativity, and apologise to any attendees affected.